Chinese Government Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square…By Shutting Down Dissent!


Steve Chapman is right that China today is in virtually all ways better (and freer) than it was 20 years ago, when the government cracked down on a broad-based movement dedicated to liberalized everything.

Which doesn't mean the country doesn't have a hell of a long way still to go (the journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step and all that stuff, after all).

Chinese police aggressively deterred dissent on Thursday's 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, amid calls by Hillary Clinton and even Taiwan's China-friendly president for Beijing to face up to the 1989 violence.

An exiled protest leader—famous for publicly haranguing one of China's top leaders 20 years ago—was also blocked from returning home to confront officials over what he called the "June 4 massacre."

Foreign journalists were barred from the vast square as uniformed and plainclothes police stood guard across the vast plaza that was the epicenter of the student-led movement that was crushed by the military on the night of June 3-4, 1989.

More here.

I highly recommend Frontline's documentary The Tank Man, about the anonymous figure whose unbelievably gutsy and/or suicidal and/or choreographed actions created arguably the iconic image of the late 20th century and who was one of Reason's 35 Heroes of Freedom, our 2003 tribute to the "people who made the world groovier and groovier" since the magazine's founding in 1968:

By putting his life on the line in front of his government's tanks, he provided not only one of the most memorable images of the last 35 years but one of the most inspiring too. The free China of the future owes him a statue or two.

Read the whole list here. And watch history below: